Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Review: By the King's Design by Christine Trent

Publish Date: February 2012
Format: Paperback 384 pp

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"Annabelle "Belle" Stirling inherited the family draper shop from her late father, only to have it sabotaged by her ne'er-do-well brother, Wesley. Belle travels to London to seek redress, and while there, the Prince Regent, future King George IV, commissions her to provide fabrics for his Royal Pavilion. As Belle's renown spreads, she meets handsome cabinetmaker Putnam Boyce, but worries that marriage will mean sacrificing her now flourishing shop. When Wesley plots to kidnap the newly crowned King, Belle finds herself entangled in a duplicitous world of shifting allegiances, where every choice could have unexpected consequences for her future, her safety, and her kingdom..."

My Review:

Just like the rest of Christine Trent's novels, By the King's Design was a quick and enjoyable reading experience. The heroine, Annabelle Stirling, is a lovely character, full of spirit and determination; it's impossible not to be captivated by her story. Unlike the endearing qualities of Annabelle, King George IV possessed the exact opposite. This is the first time I've read about him in a novel, and I can definitely say that my opinion of him has not improved in the least. Christine did a fantastic job of creating a realistic experience of what the citizens felt during his reign. Unfortunately, in addition to dealing with King George IV, Annabelle also had to cope with the treasonous actions of her brother Wesley. Wesley was a selfish and weak character, but there was a constant feeling of a redeemable quality lurking somewhere inside him, which is probably why I still liked him despite his horrid treatment of Annabelle.

The novel is told from multiple points of view which lead to some confusion some choppy moments, but this was a minor flaw and didn't take away from the pace or impact of the plot. In contrast to some books which give the feeling of reading unnecessary information, Christine was able to teach the reader about a the draping trade in an intriguing and relevant way. Another delightful aspect of this book was her use of authors and play-writes of the era. I thoroughly enjoyed the moments spent with Jane Austen, and it was a delight to see Sheridan's play The Rivals mentioned as well. If you are interested in Regency England or are merely looking for a pleasurable story to read on a relaxing weekend, By the King's Design is definitely a book to consider first.

Copyright © 2012 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.
FTC: I received this book from the author. As always these are my own honest opinions. 


Darlene said...

I'm glad to see you enjoyed this novel - so did I. I really liked the references to Jane Austen as well. I'm excited to read more of Trent's work.

Unknown said...

I enjoyed seeing Jane Austen as a character in the novel as well. This was my first Regency read, and I could not stand King George! Christine does do a great job of including a lot of details without you feeling like overload!

Ashfa said...

Jane Austen is a character in this book... I have to check it out then.. love the cover.